不必擔心神要你為祂做什麼巨大犧牲,

祂其實只要求你一件小事:心懷憐憫。

 

mercy 

 

2014.11.16 路加福音第八主日及使徒馬太紀念日

 

主日經文

 

哥林多前書4:9-16 「我想神把我們使徒明明列在末後,好像定死罪的囚犯;因為我們成了一臺戲,給世人和天使觀看。我們為基督的緣故算是愚拙的,你們在基督裡倒是聰明的;我們軟弱,你們倒強壯;你們有榮耀,我們倒被藐視。直到如今,我們還是又飢又渴,又赤身露體,又挨打,又沒有一定的住處,並且勞苦,親手做工。被人咒罵,我們就祝福;被人逼迫,我們就忍受;被人毀謗,我們就善勸。直到如今,人還把我們看作世界上的污穢,萬物中的渣滓。我寫這話,不是叫你們羞愧,乃是警戒你們,好像我所親愛的兒女一樣。你們學基督的,師傅雖有一萬,為父的卻是不多,因我在基督耶穌裡用福音生了你們。所以,我求你們效法我。

馬太福音9:9-13 「耶穌從那裡往前走,看見一個人名叫馬太,坐在稅關上,就對他說:你跟從我來。他就起來跟從了耶穌。耶穌在屋裡坐席的時候,有好些稅吏和罪人來,與耶穌和他的門徒一同坐席。法利賽人看見,就對耶穌的門徒說:你們的先生為什麼和稅吏並罪人一同吃飯呢?耶穌聽見,就說:康健的人用不著醫生,有病的人才用得著。經上說:我喜愛憐恤,不喜愛祭祀[1]。這句話的意思,你們且去揣摩。我來本不是召義人,乃是召罪人。」

 

 

李亮神父講道:

 

 

今天的福音書是有關馬太福音的作者-使徒馬太,被呼召成為使徒的一段內容。神呼召我們的方式很簡單,有時甚至可說是很溫柔的。

 

很重要的一點,大部分的使徒被呼召時,正在工作,或是在讀聖經,就像是巴多羅買那樣。我們知道馬太是個稅吏,他在寫這段經文時,可看出他謙卑的筆觸。在那個年代,稅吏並不是個高尚尊榮的職業,在人眼中那就好似竊賊。但耶穌路過那裏,卻對他說:「你跟從我來。」

 

這是非常重要的,耶穌不是如我們所以為的,呼召修士或是專研律法和聖經那種人。祂反而呼召大家都想不到的稅吏成為使徒。所以是否可說神其實並不在意我們的職業?請允許我這麼說,甚至若有人從事賣淫之類的工作,神也總是呼召他們,因為神察看人心,觀看人的態度,而非看外顯的行為。

 

很奇特的地方,耶穌呼召、出現、開口說話,都是耶穌先起頭的,但是卻在馬太身上產生巨大的結果-他便拋下一切所有的。想像一下,就好像是有某人跑去告訴一位在銀行或國稅局工作的人,要求他離職,拋棄他的財富和一切所有的,去跟隨耶穌基督。我們一定要明白這件事情,馬太當時既沒有看到神蹟,工作上也沒有奇事發生,而到底是什麼促使他放下一切?

 

另個重點是為何耶穌要呼召他?當然我無法解釋一切的原因,我們也無從得知所有的細節。但是從馬太的反應,我們可明白馬太其實配得耶穌的呼召。那些賺大把財富的銀行家或是在華爾街工作這樣的人,我不認為有很多這樣的人,會願意離開他們的工作,只為了跟隨一個窮夫子。對於我們這些跟隨者,甚至是那些使徒,的確有些特別的因素,促使我們能更全然地信靠耶穌基督。你可以看見,耶穌並未向他保證什麼。耶穌並未對他說:「跟隨我,你可以得到更多的財富。」或是提供其他的保證,實際上相反地,馬太失去了他的工作和財富。

 

當耶穌靠近馬太的身邊,他心中懷著怎樣瘋狂的愛,就是這樣瘋狂的愛能使他拋下一切跟隨耶穌到底。我們一定要了解,我們也是因為這樣瘋狂的愛而成為基督徒。我最近問某個人他信主的原因。他回答我:「嗯,總之天上一定有個什麼神之類的吧!」而我告訴他這樣的回答並不正確。這不是認識神的方式,如同我告訴過你們,魔鬼就是因著能力、有求必應的邏輯需求等這類方式,來認識神的存在。我們成為基督徒,單只因為我們愛神,因為我們愛聖三一。這也是我們信神的原因,也是我們的見證。

 

耶穌呼召馬太,不是要他放棄一切,這也是很重要的一點。祂呼召我們,但別為此而懼怕。祂不會呼召我們做我們做不到的事情。因為耶穌不會要求我們做我們無力承擔的事。祂並非將我們置於「對神說不」的試探中。還記得那個年輕財主嗎?他到耶穌面前說他「一切誡命」都已遵守了,並詢問耶穌他應該要做什麼才能作「完全人」。耶穌對他提出的要求,對於一位真正的「完全人」來說,應該並不困難:「你若願意作完全人,可去變賣你所有的,分給窮人,就必有財寶在天上;你還要來跟從我」。(馬太福音19:21) 但非常遺憾地,他卻離開了耶穌,因為他的心中只有他的錢財。

 

別以為神總是要你為他付出很大的犧牲,你願意上教會,我覺得就已經是付出太多(too much)的基督徒了。說「付出太多」並不是個好的說法,但是今日對於某些人而言,上教會就是件大事,因為他們根本不想上教會,他們不在乎教會。不要認為神要你做的事情,是為主做出巨大犧牲。祂其實要求你的只是一些小事情。什麼樣的事情是小事?你看看耶穌在別人控告祂時,祂說了什麼話。因為馬太請耶穌去他家作客,所有其他罪人也都來了,與耶穌一同坐席吃喝。祂說:「我來本不是召義人,乃是召罪人。」但事實上,怎麼樣才稱得上義人呢?為何耶穌要這樣說?祂說:「經上說:我喜愛憐恤,不喜愛祭祀。」神所要求我們的就是憐恤的心。待人寬容,不要掐著別人的弱點不放。這樣憐恤的態度就是福音的中心。敘利亞的聖以撒說「何謂純潔之心?」有人也許認為是心中沒有對於男女的遐想或是類似的定義。但並非如此,他說:「其實是滿有憐恤的心」,這是對宇宙萬物懷有憐憫心。因著如此,他說到當他看到某人或萬物受苦時,他的心如同火燒一般。我們可從一些事開始練習,比如在多年婚姻之後,夫妻之間慢慢會變成某一方憐憫著另一方。因為受傷的愛幾乎消失殆盡,剩下的只是憐恤。你們一定要記住,人一旦失去了憐恤,那將比野獸還不如。也是因為這樣的憐憫,我們行聖禮儀,因為這樣的憐恤不只是為了你們,也是為了宇宙萬物而行禮。神的恩典從這個聖壇而傳到每片地土、各受造物、一切萬物、每個靈魂。神的恩典也臨到你們、你的環境、你的困難、你的悲喜。

 

我們再回頭看馬太,記得我們如果我們為了神連小事都無法犧牲,那又要如何為神做大事呢?你看到的,這裡我們不收奉獻,一切都免費提供,所以我有時請你們做一些小事,不是為了錢,因為金錢更是無物。但人們只想做他們想要做的,只用他們想要的方法去做。這樣實在不好。這樣就顯出了人想控制的態度,表示出「我知道一切,我要掌控這裡。」

 

我們今日在福音書中讀到使徒的一些經文,今日也是慶祝一位偉大的使徒。你一定要知道使徒就是一位被差遣的人。這是一個希臘字,意思就是我差遣某個人。而使徒的宣教使命就是教會的使徒工作。特別是在台灣這地,我們一定要記得我們不只是一個區牧教會。事實上沒有區牧教會。教會就是一個宣教使命。有些人可能會說他們需要一間教會,只是為了滿足他們宗教上的需求。這是個很大的謬思及異端想法。教會不只是幫助滿足人的宗教需求,因為那樣就等於「我會害怕,我需要某個神明,我需要某種聖事禮儀,這樣我生命中宗教這一塊就OK啦!」

 

首先,宣教就是神運行的方式(the mission is the way of God),你可以看到耶穌說:「你怎樣差我到世上,我也照樣差他們到世上。」(約翰福音17:18)所以父神差遣子,祂差遣聖靈,所以是神開始了宣教使命。這是一個大大的擁抱,神向我們每一個人都敞開祂的懷抱。這是宣教,教會要繼續去擁抱,向這個世界敞開,去擁抱每個人,每個人類、每個文化、每個思想方式。不單單只為了人類,也要去祝福宇宙萬物。

 

我最近有次在大學演講,我提到有關幸福這件事,他們告訴我,我說的是西方式的幸福,他們說:「我們是華人、有我們自己的方式,我們的感情放在心裡面,我們不想讓它外顯。」我問他們為何要感情藏在心裡,而不顯而於外。他們對於這個問題很訝異,他們無法回答,但他們堅持他們無法像是西方人那樣表達或是寫出。我向他們解釋他們這是自我封閉,不向他人敞開自己。那是有關全球化的一門課程,若你想要全球化,那麼當然你必須向他人和他文化開放自己。如你所看到的,神不把祂的愛保留給自己,祂向我們敞開。不是我們走向神,而是祂向我們走來。不只是祂來,祂還要道成肉身。祂想要成為我們生命之糧,這成為教會宣教的寫照。一個教會若沒有宣教使命就不是一個東正教教會。

 

使徒的「傳承」不斷延續,但使徒的「身份」具有獨特性。耶穌總與祂的使徒在一起,你可以看見祂不是一個人。祂總是與使徒在一起,使徒們是耶穌基督平日生活的見證,也是耶穌基督釘十字架後復活升天的見證,這說明他們的的獨特性。使徒之後,其他人都不具有使徒身分。我們尊榮他們「等同使徒」(equal to the Apostles),但他們仍不是使徒。十二使徒具有獨特性,他們領受聖職進行聖禮儀、赦免罪、為人施洗。藉著按手,他們將神的恩典傳給他們的繼承者,也就是主教們,延續至今。這也就是教會稱為「使徒所傳承下來的教會」(the Apostolic Church)的原因。

 

特別是在台灣,這為什麼非常的重要呢?因為我們能在台灣各處看到教會,像是我們樓下就有二間教會。如果你對他們提到「使徒的」(Apostolic)教會,他們卻對此一無所知。純粹是有人買了聖經、有個場地,就把它稱之為教會,但這並「不是」教會。教會不是因著相信耶穌或其他思想,而成立的哲學性社會組織。二千多年以來,教會是耶穌基督活著的身體,就是耶穌基督自己。這活著的身體先是傳承給使徒,然後藉著他們的權能傳播出去。這就像是火炬:耶穌將火遞給使徒,使徒再傳給繼承者,不斷傳承直到如今。所以一間教會若非「使徒所傳承下來的教會」,就不能稱之為教會。我們不是說他們是壞人。他們也愛耶穌基督,但他們不是教會。我們知道這道理,並要向別人解釋說明,這是非常重要的,因為在台灣總有人問:「教會,有這麼古老?能追溯到這麼久以前的初代教會嗎?」當然是的,在主要的城市,保存著使徒按手授予主教聖職的傳承紀錄,紀錄著從初代教會直到如今,兩千年來從未中斷的聖職任命。

 

它不只是歷史的傳承,也是使徒將「如今仍活著的耶穌」傳遞給教會。所以這不是哲學思想,這是耶穌基督的生命、教訓、生活方式,並一直持續到如今。我們沒有改變任何事情,雖然現在祭司衣服製作技術比較好,但仍持守古代衣服形式。即使現在它變得更美,但還是一樣的衣服。你們其中某些人是教會的「同工[2]」(synergos),而這個意思就是幫助者、同事 。使徒保羅在羅馬書中提到「與我同工的提摩太,和我的親屬路求…」,這些人以非常特別的方式幫助保羅,他們的生活也全心投入於教會宣教。不只是提摩太而已,好幾次保羅也提到路加,路加是保羅的醫生,保羅說是他的幫助者、同工。我希望教會能有更多的同工,可以有此尊榮,協助我們的宣教使命。神將會寫下他們名字時,會加上這樣的稱呼,就如同提摩太、提多等許多人一樣,稱他們為同工與幫助者。

 

願 聖三一的神保守我們眾人。阿門。

*********************

 

東正教會簡介:

http://theological.asia/taiwan-orthodox/

 

紀錄: Baker教授

翻譯: 張奉書

 

Photo: Pink Sherbet Photography

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pinksherbet/

 


[1] 參: 何西阿書6:6

[2] 其中一例是羅馬書16:21

 

 

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2014.11.16 Luke 8 and Apostle Matthew – The Apostolic Mission of the Church

1 Corinthians 4:9-169 For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored! 11 To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. 12 And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; 13 being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now. 14 I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. 15 For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me.

The Gospel of Matthew 9:9-13  At that time, as Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. And as he sat at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’[1] For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

 

Fr. Jonah’s Sermon:

 

The Gospel today is about how Matthew the Apostle and Evangelist was called to be an apostle. It is so simple, and sometimes, how to say, how gentle, the way that God is calling us.

It is important that most of the important that most of the Apostles were called when they were working at their jobs or studying the Bible, like Bartholomew. And we know that Matthew was a tax collector, and he writes this very humbly, and in those times that was not an honorable job since the tax collectors were thieves. But Jesus passed over that and just told him, “Follow me.”

And it is very important that Jesus is not calling the kind of people that we would think He would call, like monks or somebody who studies the Law or the Bible. Instead He calls a person that nobody would think He would call: a tax collector to be one of the Apostles? So, do not say that Jesus does not care about our job. Allow me to say that even if someone is a prostitute or something like that, God is calling them always, because God sees the heart, sees the attitude and not the external behavior.    And it was very strange, this call of Jesus and His presence, the opening, because Jesus started this, He initiated it, and it had a very tremendous result in Matthew: he left everything. Imagine that if somebody worked in a bank or the tax office of the government and somebody came to him and told him to leave his job, his money, everything, and follow Jesus Christ. We must see this thing, what made him leave everything? He did not see a miracle; nothing special happened in his office.

And the other point is, why did Jesus call him? Of course I cannot explain everything; we don’t know all the things. But from the response we see that Matthew was worthy of the call of Jesus Christ. I don’t know many people who are bankers or who work on Wall Street, making money, who would be willing to leave their job and just follow some poor teacher. And this is actually something that makes us followers, and even closer followers like the Apostles, this absolute trust in Jesus Christ. And you see, Jesus did not promise anything to him. He did not say to him, “If you follow me, you will have more money,” or anything else. Indeed it was the opposite.

What crazy love was this that when Jesus approached, this crazy love was in Matthew’s heart. And this crazy love made him leave everything and follow Jesus Christ to the end. And we must understand that we are Christians because of this crazy love. I asked somebody recently why he believed in God. He said, “Well, something must be up there,” and I said that this was not the correct reason. But this is not the way to know God. As I have told you, the demons know God in this way, as power, and as a logical necessity, that there is a logical necessity for God to exist. We are Christians because love God, because we love the Holy Trinity: this is why. And this is our proof.

And it is very important that Jesus is not calling Matthew to totally abandon everything. He is calling each of us, and don’t be afraid, He is not calling us to do things we cannot do, because Jesus is not asking us to do things that we cannot afford to do. He does not put us in a big temptation, where we would say, “No.” For the rich young man who came to Jesus and said that he had done everything and what should he do now to be perfect, Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, follow me.” But very sadly he left Jesus because he his heart was his money.

But don’t think that Jesus would ask such a big sacrifice from you. It is already too much that you come to the church. This is not good to say, “too much,” but today, for somebody to come to the church, I consider it to be a very big thing because people today don’t want to come to the church. They don’t care. And don’t think that God is asking you for a big sacrifice; He is asking you for just a small one. What is this small thing? You see what Jesus said when they accused him because Matthey had asked him to his house and all the other felons came and they were eating with Jesus Christ; He said, “Don’t think that I came here for the righteous person. I came for the sinners.” But actually, who is a righteous person? Why does Jesus say this? He says this, “Remember what the Law says, I want mercy, not sacrifice.” Some mercy is what God is asking from us. To be merciful to the others first, and don’t catch them by the neck. And this mercy, this merciful attitude, it is the center of the Gospel. Saint Isaac the Syrian says, “What is the pure heart?” Somebody might think it is the heart that has no bad imaginations about men or women or things like that. But it’s not this. It is, he says, “The merciful heart.” It is the heart that has mercy for all the universe, for all the creation. And because of this, he says that the heart feels as if it is burning when he sees somebody or something suffer. We start from something, even the love between the husband and the wife and after some years of marriage it comes that one has mercy for the other. Because the love that is wounded has almost disappeared, and then what remains is some mercy. You must remember that a human being without mercy is worse than a very wild animal. And it is also because of this mercy that we do this Liturgy, because this Mercy is for all the universe; it is not only for you. The grace of God from this table, this altar goes to all the lands, to all the creatures to all the creatures, to everything, to all the souls. And it comes to you also, to your environment, to your difficulties, to your tragic or happy situations.

So to come back to Matthew today, remember that if you are not able to do even a very small thing for God, how could you do a big thing? You see, here we don’t take money, everything is free, so I ask sometimes some small things, not for money, because it is nothing. But people do what they want to do, the way they want to do it. This is not good. It shows and attitude of control, that, “I know. I want to control here.”

I will say to you a few things about the Apostles because we hear this in the Gospel and today we celebrate one of the great Apostles. You must know that an apostle is somebody who is sent. It is a Greek word meaning, I send somebody. And the apostolic mission is the apostolic job of the church. And especially here in Taiwan, we must remember that we are not just a parish church. And actually there is no parish church. The Church is also a mission, always. Some people may say that they need a church just to fulfill their religious needs. This is a very big mistake and a heretical idea. The Church is not just to help people fulfill their religious needs, which means, well: “I’m afraid, and I need some God and I need some kind of sacrament, so as to be OK with this part of my life.”

But the mission first is the way of God. You see, Jesus Christ says, “As the Father sent me, so by the same way I send you into the world.” So, God the Father sends the Son, He sends the Holy Spirit, so God is He who starts the mission. It is a big hug that God is opening to each one of us. And this is the mission, for the Church to continue this hug and to open to the world, and to embrace everyone, every human being, every culture, every way of thinking. And to bless the universe also, not just human beings.

When I was at a university recently for some lecture and I was speaking about happiness, they told me that what I was talking about was the Western way of happiness, and they told me that, “We the Chinese, have our way, inside of us. We don’t let it out.” I asked them why they hid it inside themselves and why didn’t they let it go out? They were surprised at this question and they could not answer it, but they insisted that it could not be like the Westerners who express it and write about these things. I explained to them that they are self-enclosed. They enclose themselves; they are not opening to the other. And it was a lesson about globalization, and if you want globalization, then of course you will open yourself to others and other cultures. You will be always in dialogue. And as you see, God is not keeping his love to Himself; He is opening to us. We did not go to God; He came to us. Not only did He come, but He wanted to come, He wanted to become human. And he wants, he likes very much the food of life. So this makes the mission the very fact of the Church. A church without a mission is not an Orthodox church.

Something last, the Apostles are unique. Jesus is always together with His Apostles; you see He is not an individual. He is always with the Apostles, and the Apostles are the witnesses of the life, the cross and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. They are unique from this point of view. After the Apostles, the others are not Apostles, we honor them as equal to the Apostles, but they are not Apostles. The Apostles are very unique, these twelve who received the priesthood to make the Liturgy, to forgive sins, and to baptize people. And they gave his grace of God to their successors by their hands, continuing to today. This is why the Church is called the Apostolic Church.

Especially in Taiwan, this is very important. Why? Because we can see churches everywhere, like the two churches downstairs from us And if you say to them “Apostolic,” they don’t know anything about that. It was just somebody who bought a Bible and he opened a room and he called it a church. But this is not a church. A church is not a philosophical society that believes something, in Jesus Christ or some other idea. A church is the living body of Jesus Christ; it is Jesus Christ Himself continuing through the centuries, first by the Apostles, and then by the power they transmitted. It is like a fire: Jesus gives it to the Apostles and the Apostles to their successors, and so on till today. And so a church that is not an Apostolic church is not a church. We do not say they are bad people. They love Jesus Christ, but they are not a church, they are something else, I don’t know what. And it is very important to know this and to explain this to others because here in Taiwan, they say, “A church, so old?” But yes, because we have the catalogues in the main towns of who ordained whom, of course.

And it is not only the historical continuity; it is that the Apostles gave the living Jesus Christ to the Church. So it is not just a philosophy; it is the life of Jesus Christ, the teachings, the way of life, which continues to today. We did not change anything, though maybe we made the clothes better. This [his garments] used to be an ancient type of clothing like everybody had; now it has become more beautiful, but it is the same. And the last thing, which is interesting to you, for some of you today because they have this title, it is the synergos, the helper, the colleagues.[2] Apostle Paul says, “All and my colleagues, Timothy, Lucius and so on”. These are those who help in a very special way, those who have dedicated their lives to work for the mission of the Church. And not only Timothy, sometimes he says about Luke, who was his doctor He says, my helpers, my colleagues I wish and I hope that there will be more than two or three people who are here and that they have this honor, that there are more people to help our mission. And God will write their names with this title, colleague and helpers in the mission as it is written for Timothy, for Titus, and for many others.

Any questions, please. OK, [from next Sunday, for the people who want to stay after the lunch, we can have some coffee and a dialogue about, talking about some subjects that are interesting.] May the Holy Trinity protect all of us. Amen.

 

Recorder: Prof. Baker


[1] Hosea 6:6

[2] See Romans 16:21 for example.

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